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Posted under: News Race & Identity

St. Louis Protesters Shut Down City Over Weekend, Police Responds With "Whose Streets, Our Streets" Chants

Nearly 80 people were arrested in the weekend demonstrations.

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After the acquittal of former Officer Jason Stockley, the city of St. Louis has been rocked by a string of protests over the weekend.

CNN reported that nearly 80 protesters were arrested Sunday, Sept. 18 after police claimed demonstrators assaulted officers and "a concentrated area" was hit by vandalism.

Stockley was found not guilty for the 2011 shooting death of Anthony Lamar Smith. According to various reports, Stockley was recorded while in pursuit of Smith stating that he intended to kill the victim. In the aftermath of a high-speed chase and crash, Smith was shot five times after officers tried to apprehend him for a suspected drug deal at a Church's Chicken restaurant.

Blavity reported that the former officer allegedly planted a gun on the victim to cover up any possible wrongdoing. Stockley was found not guilty of first-degree murder and armed criminal action charges by presiding St. Louis Circuit Judge Timothy Wilson on Sept. 15.

"Some criminals assaulted law enforcement officers and threw chemicals and rocks at them. All of the officers' injuries were minor or moderate. All will be returned to duty soon," acting Police Commissioner Larry O'Toole said.

Protesters believed that officers were overly aggressive and were chanting “whose street, our street” as they interacted with the public Sunday. Some demonstrators were pepper sprayed and violently apprehended for protesting the injustice they perceived. 

On Saturday, protests forced U2 and Ed Sheeran to canceled separate concerts for that night saying that police could not provide enough officers as a security detail for the concert.

Despite police coming under fire for their alleged aggressive handling of the protests, St. Louis Mayor Lyda Krewson still stands by officers.

"We have work to do here in the city. We need more and better opportunities for all our citizens but destruction cannot be tolerated," Krewson said. "Law enforcement has my full support."

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